California State University, Northridge’s continued efforts to become more sustainable are paying off.
The recent installation of 12 electric vehicle charging stations and several drought-tolerant landscaping projects have earned CSUN more than $360,000 in rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
“The university is actively pursuing every opportunity for funding partnerships, while continuing to fulfill the campus’ sustainability initiatives,” said Ken Rosenthal, CSUN’s associate vice president of facilities development and operations.
Among the green efforts that earned rebates was the installation of 12 electric vehicle charging stations in key parking lots and structures around the campus, as well as the replacement of water-needy turf areas — including near Redwood Hall and near the corner of Plummer Street and Lindley Avenue — with more drought-tolerant landscaping. University officials also took the opportunity to make energy-saving improvements to the cooling systems of some buildings.
“With so many electric cars appearing on the roads and the notion of being green taking off with so much support, it is very much time for us to keep pace with the new charging stations,” said CSUN Police Chief Anne Glavin, whose Department of Police Services oversaw the installation of the charging stations.
CSUN is known for its green endeavors. Its Student Recreation Center and Valley Performing Arts Center are LEED Gold certified (to achieve Gold Status, a building must prove outstanding in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality). The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator has established a satellite site at CSUN to promote research in renewable energy technologies.
In addition to having several photovoltaic (solar panel) installations, CSUN was the first institution in the world to have a grid-connected fuel cell plant. The one-megawatt advanced hydrogen fuel cell plant eliminates more than 6,400 tons of carbon dioxide a year that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere. The fuel cell plant led to the creation of the university’s outdoor subtropical rainforest, which is partially sustained by conventional industrial waste byproducts, including excess water and carbon dioxide from the fuel cell plant.
The push toward sustainability includes CSUN’s students. In 2014, the university launched a new residence hall community dedicated to preserving the environment through living and learning together. CSUN students, through their governmental body Associated Students, oversee campus recycling efforts. The student government also recently launched a weekly farmers’ market to support local farmers and healthy eating habits on campus.